Denver City Council Proposes Ban on Plastic Bags

Keally Peck, Rookie Reporter

Towards the end of 2018, the Denver City Council came out with a decision to ban plastic bags.

However, today they are still debating the pros and cons of the idea. There aren’t a lot of details on exactly what the City Council would pursue or any semblance of a timeline since the City Council would first need a nod of approval from the state.

A City Council legislative analyst put together a memo about similar bans already in effect across the country. “At least ten cities in Colorado, including Boulder, Telluride and Vail, have banned or instituted fees on plastic bags despite a 1993 state statute that prohibits municipalities from banning certain plastics,Westword stated.

Some perks of this ban would be how, without plastic bags, trash percentage in Colorado can decrease rapidly, can encourage people to use reusable bags, and can use more paper than plastic in the long run. “The plastic bags are made from non-renewable sources and on this account, highly contribute to climate change” Conserve-Energy stated in their article  “20+ Reasons Why Plastic Bags Should Be Banned,” and also states how, with a ban on plastic bags, there would be improved technology which would boost other businesses. Even though there would be many positives, there are also some cons that could occur with this ban.

With plastic bags, come with many uses; they are reusable and help bag things much easier. A ban on plastic bags could lead to many angry people, and start riots against the ban and the Denver City Council. “Plastic bags aren’t as big of a litter problem as it seems. They make up less than one percent of visible litter, don’t block storm drains, make up just 0.4 percent of municipal waste, and don’t even cut down on litter when banned” states. So, by getting rid of plastic bags, it won’t get rid of our waste pollution because plastic makes up a small percentage of all the world’s waste. Even with pros and cons preparing for a possible plastic bag ban, some places have already begun to act upon it.

In August 2018, an article was posted showing that Kroger will ban plastic bags by 2025. Kroger consists of King Soopers, City Market, Bakers, etc. Kroger is a widespread group of companies, so this will affect much of everyday people’s lives, people who have become accustomed to using plastic bags. And furthermore, stores have begun opening up in Colorado that do not use plastic bags, or any bags for that matter. These stores are called “Zero Waste” stores, also known as Zero Waste Markets. These certain stores allow you to shop by bringing in an empty container that you can fill with organic, sustainable local goodies, and can take home in a container, no bags necessary. It’s there way of starting a “No-Waste-State” by using less waste in wrapping, bagging, and packaging.

The Denver City Council is still in debate on whether or not the ban on plastic bags should occur or not, because by doing the ban, the Colorado’s 1993 state statute would break. The statute states that, “No unit of local government shall require or prohibit the use or sale of specific types of plastic materials or products or restrict or mandate containers, packaging, or labeling for any consumer products.” But, even if the ban does not happen, stores are already acting out on this possibility and are making changes to change the waste population by reducing, or using less waste as possible.